As the first half of the 2003-04 state legislative session ended
Friday, local lawmakers took stock of their success or inability to
establish their laws and resolutions.
Simply put, it was a good year for the Democrats, who control both
houses and have a Democrat governor -- albeit an embattled one.
Assemblyman Dario Frommer (D-Burbank), who has expressed interest
in becoming speaker of the assembly, had a good year.
Six of his major bills have either been signed or awaited Davis’
signature late Friday. One that Davis signed makes it illegal for
elected officials to solicit charitable contributions in exchange for
a film permit. Two Frommer anti-price-gouging bills awaiting the
governor’s consideration would require hospitals to publicly list
sticker prices for medical procedures and would prevent hospitals
from billing patients rather than HMOs for care after visiting
A bill written by Frommer that increases penalties for
tax-shelter abusers awaited Davis’ signature. So did legislation
prohibiting juvenile firearm offenders from buying or holding guns
until they turn 30. Frommer, chairman of the Assembly’s health
committee, also was a co-author of a controversial bill that requires
employers to pay health insurance for employees. That bill was
expected to move Friday from the Assembly floor to the governor’s
“My year has been great,” said Frommer, adding that it wasn’t
easy. “Even with my own party, when you take on big subjects, you
have to work hard to get those bills through.”
State Sen. Jack Scott (D-Glendale) also had some success. Among
the two major Scott pieces of legislation on the governor’s desk are
a bill that would require semiautomatic handguns sold in the state to
have a clear-loaded chamber indicator and magazine disconnect safety
by 2007. Three Scott bills have been signed, and nine were pending in
As of late Friday, Assemblywoman Carol Liu (D-La Canada
Flintridge), had three bills signed into law. They include an
education bill that makes California National Guard members called to
active duty eligible to have their college loans repaid. Also on the
list is business legislation that seeks to improve a state Board of
Equalization Program that Liu said could decrease burdens on
taxpayers. Three more of her bills were on Davis’ desk, including one
seeking privacy protections for Social Security numbers.
Local Republicans lamented their lack of legislative success, but
chalked it up to who has power in Sacramento -- the Assembly has 48
Democrats and 32 Republicans. In the Senate, 15 Republicans and 25
Democrats have seats.
Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy (R-La Crescenta) had a resolution
passed that designates the second week of March as Blue Star Families
Week during times of hostilities. State Sen. Bob Margett (R-La
Crescenta) had one bill signed that clarifies language in a
public-contracting law. Assemblyman Keith Richman (R-La Crescenta)
had two bills passed, including one that expands the state’s Healthy
Families program to include insurance for parents.